New dining concept, Whatever Forever, opening within Fort Greene market

Gotham Market at the Ashland’s newest vendor, Whatever Forever, opens to the public Feb. 19.
Photo by Mikaela Wegner

Brooklyn’s Gotham Market is growing with the addition of Whatever Forever, a laid back lounge from the team at SMASHED, which will share space with the popular burger joint’s forthcoming Fort Greene location, as well as Taco Taco.

Corporate Manager Gretchen Smith “fell into” the industry almost two years ago, having previously danced with New York City Ballet for about 15 years. A Brooklyn resident herself, Smith comes to the table with a diverse staff trying to create a unique line of “healthy comfort food.”

“We wanted to keep it simple, we wanted to keep it healthy,” Smith told Brooklyn Paper. “And also, we wanted to cater to our chefs. [Our’s] loves experimenting and he loves making this kind of food.”

Whatever Forever’s current menu plays on some home classics like a gourmet Caesar salad, smoked salmon deviled eggs, and avocado toast topped with burrata cheese. Though they’re serving primarily small dishes since soft-launching late last month, Whatever Forever is looking to expand to a full menu in the spring, when both Smashed and Taco Taco are set to open within the sprawling food hall.

“Gotham Market at The Ashland brings together the finest dining experiences for our residents and neighbors,” said Phil Lavoie, COO of Gotham Organization, in a statement. “We are excited that the team behind Mr. Purple and SMASHED BK chose to expand their business with us in Fort Greene.”

The space itself speaks to the unusualness of this new branch: there is a marble bar separating two neon signs for Taco Taco and Smashed, with a Whatever Forever logo marrying the two in the middle. The space is comprised of just one common space for all three restaurants, circling high and low tables on stone floors.

A bartender mixes a drink at Whatever Forever.Photo by Mikaela Wegner

The place is “warm,” Smith said, with couch seating and orange lighting, complimented by indie pop playing as background noise during the day, but a busy dance floor at night.

Whatever Forever had a soft opening on Jan. 29, with about 100 guests. The lights dim, curtains pulled, and music loud, Smith remembers a young crowd that filled the space with liveliness.  

Having experience in New York theatre herself, she said she wants to provide “refreshing” options catered specifically for pre and post theatre attendees, who often are looking for a small bite at an off-hour.

Right now, a house favorite includes the homemade chips. The menu offers both kitchen-made potato and plantain chips (which literally look like dried bananas), complimented by various sauces. The avocado salsa is a soft and simple type of guacamole. There are no onions or chunks, but has a smooth cilantro flavor hit with a little kick. To make the red sauce, the chefs roast bell peppers, onions, garlic and vinegar, smushing it into a paste and mixing it with the aioli, giving authentic and strong taste.

The Whatever Forever Margarita is currently the lounge’s most popular signature drink. A purple cloudy color, the drink composes tequila and lavender syrup, having a flowery and naturally sweet flavor. This simple margarita is topped off with a lavender salted rim.

“I hope it becomes a mainstay, and someplace where people feel that they can come and relax after a long day,” Smith said. “But also late night be able to let loose.”

Whatever Forever will have its grand opening on Feb. 19, at the Gotham Market at The Ashland (250 Ashland Place), within the Fort Greene Cultural District.

Brooklyn’s Gotham Market is the second-coming of the popular Gotham West Market in Manhattan. Since opening in 2017, the 16,000-square-foot, developer-driven food hall has showcases various drinking and dining concepts, and is currently also home to watering hole Fulton Hall.